The Politics of Defense

America is a very, very secure nation, protected as it is by terrific geography, a powerful military, a large and flexible economy, the appeal of its culture, and the innovative skills of its people. Given this inherent security, America’s defense budget and national strategy is driven much more by institutional needs and interests than by specific threats. Many depend upon the defense budget for their livelihood and thus many seek to influence its size and allocations.

Professor Harvey Sapolsky’s work on this topic builds on his recent US Defense Politics: The Origins of Security Policy (written with Eugene Gholz and Caitlin Talmadge) and a reader on military policy edited with Ben Friedman and Brendan Green entitled US Military Innovation Since the End of the Cold War. Of particular concern are the effects of inter-party competition on defense policy and strategy, the many attempts to reform the weapons acquisition system, research and development policies, comparisons with other policy areas such as health and economic development, and inter-service relations and the religion of Jointness now expanded to include  near mystical yearning for inter-agency and coalition coordination.

Related Publications:

Harvey Sapolsky, Benjamin Friedman, and Brendan Green, eds., US Military Innovation Since the End of the Cold War: Creation Without Destruction (London: Routledge, 2009).

Harvey Sapolsky, Eugene Gholz, and Caitlin Talmade, U.S. Defense Politics: The Origins of Security Policy (London: Routledge, 2008).

This project is managed by Harvey Sapolsky, Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Organization.